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The Secret Ingredient

Throwing Coins in a Fountain | misfitsandheroes

If I had a penny for every time someone asked me “How did you become so confident?”, somewhere in this world there would be an overflooded water fountain filled with way too much copper from a girl who was always wishing for the right answer. The wish would be for an answer that didn’t mislead people into believing that her confidence existed solely in place of her insecurities but rather as the reinforcement her insecurities need in order to feel safe enough to show up imperfect and still worthy. I would use every penny to wish for an answer to help people understand that my confidence and flaws have always shared a bunk bed in the same room. 

When attempting to navigate how to become or reaffirm yourself as something, I think it’s vital that we take a step back and analyze what that something really means to us and the world around us. According to Google definitions, confidence is the feeling or belief that you can rely on someone or something. It also defines confidence as “firm trust”. Similar to Google, I believe confidence means being sure about someone or something no matter the circumstances.

This means, fortunately, for people who are strong on practicing self-awareness, confidence doesn’t require a lack of ignorance of one’s own shortcomings. It simply requires not allowing your shortcomings to become an excuse for why you “can’t” show up where you want to show up in the way that you desire to show up. Confidence always requires a certain level of faith that believes no matter what you may be lacking, there is enough grace in every space you walk into to fill in the gaps as you glide head held high across the room. 

I know that “being confident” can be easier said than done which is why rather than just restating the definition of confidence to you in one hundred different ways, I am going to share some practical tips I have used that you may also be able to benefit from while embarking on your own personal journey of gaining and growing confidence:

1. Practice makes progress:

I’m sure you are familiar with the idea that the more you do something, the better you get at it. Sometimes, that something is simply showing up like you belong (because not only do you belong in that room, but you can trust that you were sent there). This may look like you taking a deep breath to remind yourself of the purpose in your lungs or even looking in the mirror and saying “You add value to every room you enter” before walking in. The most important part about doing both of these things is that you take the intentional time to listen to and acknowledge both of these truths every time you observe them until you eventually believe them.


2. Speak less of what you see and more of what you are going to achieve:

As a fashion design teacher, one of the most challenging parts for me has been teaching beginning sewers how to use a machine properly. On the first day of sewing, I often hear students say “I suck at this” or “I don’t think sewing is for me”. I use those moments to remind my beginning sewers that what they say becomes their reality so to speak positively. At one point, I even got one of the most skeptical beginners to say out loud “I am the best sewer in this class” and jokingly challenge everyone else to a sew-off for their projects. She may still be a beginner sewer, but now she is a beginner sewer who went from believing she would never be able to sew one stitch correctly to proudly modeling her completed tote bag in front of the whole class. 

Even though what you are currently experiencing in life deserves to be acknowledged as a part of your story, that doesn’t mean you should give it the power to dictate or become your narrative. Every time, you speak what you want as if you are guaranteed to achieve it, you are choosing a winning narrative. So speak more about what you want as if it’s already yours. 


3. Show up scared:

Back in high school, my favorite volleyball player on our school team just so happened to be one of my best friends. I remember, before every game, she would complain to me about how much her stomach was hurting and genuinely believed she would be too sick to play the game. Like clockwork, she would share her concerns about her stomach about 15 minutes prior, and then as soon as it was time to warm up, it was as if the pain never existed. It took us a few games into that first season to make the connection to it being due to her nerves (and her habit of eating hot fries to soothe her nerves… the whole thing was a horrible combination). However, even through the fear and her self-medicated Takis addiction, she still managed to show up for what she knew she was called to do. 

This is how we deserve to show up for ourselves in life. We have to be dedicated to our calling even when the thought of how intimidating it is makes our stomachs turn. Sometimes, confidence is showing up scared until you’re not. 

 Jen Porter on LinkedIn: Be messy. Show up. Grow.

4. Confide in confident people:

This example is going to get a little biblical… mainly because this was the story that was used to help me make the connection of why EVERYONE is NOT meant to hear our plans before they have prospered (or sometimes even witness them while they are in progress). 

In the Bible, there is a popular story where a man named Jairus who is about to lose his daughter to illness seeks Jesus’s help to heal her. After he finds Jesus and convinces him to go back to his place to heal his only daughter, they are met with the devastating news that she has already passed away. Of course, Jesus, being the messiah he is, was like “Absolutely not. She’s just napping.” However, everyone who is already convinced that the daughter is surely dead takes what Jesus said as a joke because they do not believe he could be serious about a dead girl being merely asleep. Jesus then orders all of the haters.. I mean nonbelievers.. to stay out of the room and only allowed the real ones to stay as he woke this “sleeping” girl up. 

It is often said that Jesus performed his best miracles where there was the strongest belief so it is not surprising that at a time when the miracle was a matter of life and death, he only allowed his three closest disciples to follow him into Jairus’s house. 

When we are planning to do something that has never been done before, that may be considered crazy and ambitious, or not many people will understand, sometimes, the success of our plan can be tainted by sharing it with the wrong people. This is why it is vital to confide in confident people. People who wholeheartedly believe in themselves often have a larger capacity to believe in others. So, surround yourself with folks who practice their ability to empower your dreams rather than to speak doubt and/or fear into them. 

             The Wholesomest of Friendo Memeos on Tumblr: Image tagged with hoooooo boi

5. Last but not least, trust in the favor that is on your life:

Something that I have experienced growing up, is falling down quite a few times and I don’t mean this metaphorically. Your girl has had too many clumsy moments in her life to keep count. Many of these moments have been in front of large crowds and very attractive people. From getting hit in the head with just about every type of sports ball imaginable to walking into stationary objects like walls lacking the common courtesy to move out of my way to tripping over the smallest cracks on the sidewalk, I have had my fair share of falls.

Most recently, I was walking my normal route from the parking lot into my work building a few mornings ago when this curb I was trying to step over rudely attacked the front of my foot. Right in front of all the cars driving past me, dropping off students I was sure to see in the hallway, I found myself with one knee on the grass and my opposite hand breaking my fall. In another era of my life, I would have spent time looking around and subconsciously counting the number of people who saw while consciously trying to decide whether to sit there until God called me back home or carry on with my day. 

I think after enough falls in your life, embarrassment begins to feel like “showing your work” on a math problem that you’ve already solved correctly in your head. If you already know the solution, why take the extra steps? Unlike the past, without overthinking it, I just stood up. I kept moving forward knowing that dwelling on my fall was not going to change the fact that it happened and, like every other time before, it was not going to stop me from inevitably getting back on my feet.

It’s vital to understand that if you truly believe that everything is working together for your good then while stepping out in confidence and stumbling into embarrassment, disappointment, and back into fear may happen, stumbling is not synonymous with falling, and falling is not synonymous with failing. True failure requires you to not get back up and the truth is, authentic confidence is built by refusing to stay down. Authentic confidence is not determined by your ability to never fall because, out of fear, you intentionally operate strictly from a ground level. Authentic confidence requires us to acknowledge that with great favor, comes great challenges and many of those battles will be us pushing ourselves up from off the floor and leveling back up over and over again. The best part about this is the more times you get to experience yourself getting back off the ground, the more faith you have in the belief that you don’t, never did, and never will belong there. 

120 Confidence Quotes to Make You a Better Person

Now, If I had a penny for every time someone asked me “How did you become so confident?”, I would hand it over to the person asking the question, walk them over to my copper-filled fountain, and tell them to wish for something so big that it scares them and to show up every single day ready to work towards that thing no matter how hard it may get. I would tell them to believe so greatly in what they wished for, it would have no other choice but to become their truth. Where there is truth, there is trust, and as Google and I have both agreed, trust is the foundation confidence is built upon.

1 comment

  • Everything you wrote is so beautifully put. You have a gift with words. I loved this blog post even more than the first one! It just keeps getting better and better. You also made me laugh a few times so bravo!


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